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Marley (2012)


Average Rating: 8/10
Reviews Counted: 100
Fresh: 95
Rotten: 5

Critics Consensus: Kevin Macdonald's exhaustive, evenhanded portrait of Bob Marley offers electrifying concert footage and fascinating insights into reggae's greatest star.

Average Rating: 7.8/10
Reviews Counted: 30
Fresh: 28
Rotten: 2

Critics Consensus: Kevin Macdonald's exhaustive, evenhanded portrait of Bob Marley offers electrifying concert footage and fascinating insights into reggae's greatest star.


Average Rating: 4.3/5
User Ratings: 26,886


Movie Info

Bob Marley's universal appeal, impact on music history and role as a social and political prophet is both unique and unparalleled. Marley is the definitive life story of the musician, revolutionary, and legend, from his early days to his rise to international superstardom. Made with the support of the Marley family, the film features rare footage, incredible performances and revelatory interviews with the people that knew him best. -- (C) Official Site

PG-13 (for drug content, thematic elements and some violent images)
Documentary , Musical & Performing Arts , Special Interest
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Aug 7, 2012
Box Office:
Magnolia Pictures - Official Site

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Critic Reviews for Marley

All Critics (100) | Top Critics (30) | Fresh (95) | Rotten (5) | DVD (5)

Marley is highly watchable, finely crafted legacy preservation - and it's either a white-washed sham or awesomely shaded.

Full Review… | May 18, 2012
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

It wants to show us the man behind the famous dreads, beatific smile and durable songs of love, hope and longing. In this task it succeeds admirably.

Full Review… | May 17, 2012
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Sprinkled with riffs, concert footage and home videos, the family-authorized documentary does what the artist usually did: When in doubt, return to the beat.

Full Review… | April 20, 2012
USA Today
Top Critic

Macdonald supplies some interesting and novel details about the musician's life and art, though the movie's narrative arc and documentary methods are totally predictable.

Full Review… | April 20, 2012
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Given the legal and logistical constraints on this long-delayed project, this lengthy movie is as comprehensive a history as Marley's fans could have hoped, but the uninitiated may not catch a fire.

Full Review… | April 20, 2012
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

Bob Marley wrote the same song about 8,000 times, and the documentary "Marley" makes sure to include each version.

Full Review… | April 20, 2012
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Comprehensive docu on iconic reggae musician.

Full Review… | April 19, 2013
Common Sense Media

Serve[s] its many audiences, doing so without succumbing to faults that so easily could have plagued the film. Well crafted, with a soundtrack that's drawn from the astounding career of its subject, MARLEY joins the pantheon of top-notch music films.

Full Review… | December 28, 2012

Concert footage includes some of Bob Marley's best-known songs, "Get Up, Stand Up," "I Shot the Sheriff," "No Woman, No Cry," "One Love" and many others. Interviews with people who knew Marley at different times of his life provide a lot of color.

Full Review… | December 10, 2012
Laramie Movie Scope

So far, the definitive biopic documentary on the elusive Bob Marley.

Full Review… | December 5, 2012
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Viewers will walk away knowing Bob Marley in much more intimate and accurate fashion, rather than the specious, superficial or incomplete picture they may have had before.

Full Review… | October 2, 2012

A truly human portrait of an extraordinary life.

Full Review… | September 18, 2012
Fan The Fire

You need not don a red, yellow, and green T-shirt to appreciate the film.

Full Review… | August 20, 2012
Old School Reviews

This is as full a picture of Marley as is likely to emerge.

Full Review… | August 16, 2012
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Outstanding, thorough, often moving documentary about the tragically short life and huge influence of musician Bob Marley... by any fair measure, a great music documentary.

Full Review… | June 26, 2012

Macdonald and his editor have built a collage that really communicates in vibrant, cinematic language. Of course, it is about a musician, so rightly, it is wall to wall music

Full Review… | June 16, 2012
Urban Cinefile

[Kevin McDonald's] vast account of the music legend's life ambles along with the laid-back vibe of a reggae king.

Full Review… | June 2, 2012

Bob Marley's short but amazing life

Full Review… | May 24, 2012
Movie Habit

Similarly, with 'Marley,' Macdonald provides some much needed context to the songs that have sold millions of copies throughout the world.

Full Review… | May 20, 2012
KC Active

Marley aficionados will be astonished by the depth and breadth of the documentary, which portrays the musician known as Tuff Gong as both a fallible man and an untouchable legend.

Full Review… | May 18, 2012
NOW Toronto

It is the work of a man with opinions, based on endless questioning and research.

Full Review… | May 18, 2012
Jam! Movies

Kevin Macdonald's "Marley" is worth sticking with, and not just for diehard fans who had "Get Up, Stand Up" emanating from their dorm room speakers all through college.

Full Review… | May 16, 2012
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

Bob Marley fanatics are going to treat this film like the Holy Bible.

Full Review… | May 12, 2012
Sin Magazine

Will get you up to speed regarding all things Marley.

Full Review… | May 10, 2012
Tucson Weekly

Audience Reviews for Marley

Marley puts all myths to rest and tells the real story, like a good documentary should. It may be a little overlong but it is definitive, leaving nothing out about the life, career and death of the legendary singer. It is a very honest account too, those who surrounded themselves with Marley, his friends and family, paint the picture and tell you everything you need to know about the man. One thing that is undeniable is the impact he had in the world, the peace he brought to Jamaica to the present day marketing of his image. Kevin Macdonald has produced another admirable documentary with style and grace that other documentarians should take note of.

Anthony Lawrie

Super Reviewer


An exhaustive (2.5 hour) chronicle of the life of the world famous reggae legend. Die-hard fans will be thrilled with the extensive interviews and concert footage; as a more casual fan, after an hour I had learned almost everything I ever wanted to know about the man and was ready for the filmmakers to wrap it up---I was shocked to realize I was less than halfway through the movie.

Greg S

Super Reviewer


Marley is an insightful, inspirational, and deeply moving documentary on the life of a legend. Though the runtime is a bit much, and the film starts to drag near the end, for the most part, Marly features electrifying concert footage, and great interviews. Hilarious, touching, disturbing, exhausting, fascinating and sad, Marley is a must see for any Bob Marley fan.

Raymond Wieser
Raymond Wieser

Super Reviewer

Marley is a must watch documentary about the musical icon that was and is Bob Marley. There isn't a person around who doesn't know the name, despite the fact that they may not be familiar with his music. For fans of his, this is a real treat. Marley's life is handled with such care. Every aspect of his life is given its due share. We see the life of Marley from his birth to a white man and black woman to his ultimate death at the age of 36. In between, there's a lot of emphasis put on his political and religious views. 

I couldn't think another documentary will ever touch this one on sheer information and entertainment value. There's some better musical figure documentaries out there, but not too many. This isn't only a must watch for his die hard fans, but for music lovers in general. Even if you don't like him, there's no denying that he is one of the biggest icons in music ever. You definitely have to have a taste for his music to enjoy it, but still, even if you don't like his music, watch this film.

Marley is a informative, entertaining, and stunning piece of filmmaking. It's a long film, at about two and a half hours, but the runtime never drags. There's enough stuff that happened in Marley's life to warrant a runtime of this scale. There's some great footage and pictures that just add to the overall entertainment value the film already has. There's amazing interviews that range from Marley's lovers to his kids to his lawyer to his childhood friends to his bandmates. Each interview gives us another piece of Marley's life.

I expected a great documentary and that is exactly what I got. I was glued to the movie the entire time and actually did end up learn some stuff I had never even heard about. It's a movie that knows exactly what it set out to achieve and it did, and then some.

Melvin White

Super Reviewer

Marley Quotes

Bob Marley:
I catch ya!
– Submitted by John G (2 years ago)
Bob Marley:
Love, prosperity, unity, Jah..Rastafari.
– Submitted by Dipen P (2 years ago)
Bob Marley:
Music goes ba ba ba ba, reggae music has 3 beats and then you imagine the 4th.
– Submitted by Greg H (2 years ago)
Bob Marley:
One love.
– Submitted by Ben P (2 years ago)
Bob Marley:
Let's get together and feel all right.
– Submitted by Chubby M (2 years ago)
Bob Marley:
My life is a people.
– Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)

Discussion Forum

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